Desperation and thievery on the high trail…

…rest assured, all emerged unscathed! Signing off last go around with promises of a tale of desperation and thievery seemed like a bright idea at the time, but not so much now. Oh well, reduce those expectations, and please accept this apology in advance!

Onwards, past the teahouse
Onwards, past the teahouse

The trail up at Agnes Lake continued on past the teahouse (now closed for winter, much to the disappointment of a group of young people – “we should have stopped for a Starby’s” was a wail that rang off the mountainsides – couldn’t help thinking that the surroundings might have made up for that little issue!) Anyway, I took the trail away from the decaffeinated huddle, enjoying how the path hugged the contours of the lakeshore, and a little wary of the blind bends and rises, ever mindful of the slight possibility of a bear encounter.

Like a drum...
Like a drum…

No bears, but I was alarmed by a booming and rumbling as I approached the midpoint of the lake. Was there an avalanche risk? It hadn’t snowed anywhere near enough, so perhaps a small rockslide? Oh, the overactive imagination of the solitary hiker! A quick up and down over a small rise and out onto an open part of the trail soon revealed the cause. A group of teenagers were doing what teenagers outdoors like to do when confronted with a frozen lake – they were hurling small rocks onto the ice to see if it would break. The rocks bounced on the ice, causing it to reverberate and send booms off the wall of mountains circling Agnes. I was listening to the world’s largest kettle drum.

Onwards, around the lake
Onwards, around the lake

Nerves settled, and reassured all was safe, I continued on my way, smiling to myself as the party leaders attempted to stop the teenagers from throwing rocks. They soon passed out of eyesight and earshot, and the path carried on to the far end of the lake, revealing a spectacular view back towards the valley opening, and the mountains beyond.

Looking back
Looking back

I decided to press on up the trail as it switched back and forth, climbing high above Agnes and onto a wide promontory. Pick a direction to be stunned by the views!

Long views...
Long views…

A few steps east, and down to Louise, step to the west and down to frozen Agnes, or south to the six glaciers, or north towards the mountains towering above the ski hill. All of those compass directions are approximate, but you get the idea. Where to look?!

Down to Agnes
Down to Agnes (my poor knees)

Epic stuff, enough to make you want to sit down with a stale cheese roll and try and make sense of the overwhelming scenery. Just shy of 7500 feet up, and time for a well earned lunch (my knees had really struggled on the last part up!)

Lunch above Louise
Lunch above Louise

I was desperately hungry, and at this point I discovered I wasn’t the only one! A camp robber took advantage of my inattention to the cheese roll as I gazed dreamy eyed at Louise, and attempted to thieve it away. That gave me a start, and I was most happy to have been sitting well away from the steep drop. It would have been a dismal end, death by defending a cheese roll, (and I hadn’t finished all of the chocolate bar from earlier…) The bird (a Clark’s nutcracker – I think) was most determined, so much so, I had to clamber wearily to my feet and find another picnic spot.

The culprit (terrible phone photo, taken with jangled nerves)
The culprit (terrible phone photo, taken with jangled nerves)

He followed me for quite a way, clearly an optimistic creature, but my steely eyes and ferocious demeanour eventually convinced him to pick on another hiker. Or perhaps he caught a glance of the cheese roll and decided it could fare better elsewhere. Can’t blame him…

Heading back
Heading back

So there you have it. A fearsome encounter on the high trail, a tale of (potential) thievery, desperation (mostly mine), and disappointment (mostly yours, and maybe the bird), all in a wonderful wilderness setting. Heady stuff, and with the potential for a gritty outdoor adventure movie I shouldn’t wonder.

DSCN6077
Can you see the trail, over the far side, ascending the scree?

I returned to Lake Louise by retracing my steps, excited at the thought of telling Mrs PlaidCamper all about my adventure as we headed home. (I think she fell asleep before I got to the best parts…)

Returning
Returning

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment or share a story – perhaps an exciting wilderness encounter – and keep your guy ropes secure.

Looking for Mrs PlaidCamper
Looking for Mrs PlaidCamper
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Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

32 thoughts on “Desperation and thievery on the high trail…”

  1. I had such a good time enjoying this post, pc. I had a good many chuckles (am doing so still) at your adventures and really funny storytelling, and the photos and views are absolutely spectacular. Not a moment of disappointment…all joy. Thanks.

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  2. I hope you told that Clark’s nutcracker he really out to stick to nuts and not pick on the cheesy food of an innocent hiker out to enjoy the beautiful scenery. What a hike! Really makes me look forward to walking in the Rockies again some day. Thanks for the enjoyable tour.

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    1. If he’d gotten to the roll, he’d have been one disappointed bird.
      I hope you get out to the Rockies again, there’s so much to see at all elevations, and the knee pains make the high points that much sweeter!
      Have a great weekend!

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  3. So beautiful up there! We had planned to extend our Idaho trip up to Alberta, but we were a bit late applying my husband a passport. Maybe next summer.

    (And such a pretty bird, my absolute favourite animal in the world.)

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  4. Hello PlaidCamper,

    Thank you for this post and the lovely photos. That culprit – attempting to steal your yummy stale cheese roll. Glad he had a change of heart. My favourite photo is — The Culprit. He seems to have an air of superiority perched on that tree top.

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  5. Great story and beautiful photographs, especially Returning and Looking for Mrs. PlaidCamper. I have never had to worry about encountering bears or thieves at 7500 feet, but over the summer I did manage to be chased into the house by what I once would have called an adorable bunny. I discovered the rabbit had buried its babies in the fenced area with the dogs and for the next few weeks worked very hard to keep the dogs away and placed a garden fence around the hole. The mother rabbit visited regularly to take care of them and nature, mankind, and dogs were coexisting fine, until one day I spotted the mother by the fence and went out to corral the dogs into the house and before I knew it the rabbit was right on our ankles chasing us into the house. The dogs and I looked back out the door to see the rabbit standing guard and letting us know who was in charge. That was the end of viewing rabbits as adorable bunnies.

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    1. What a great story – warrior rabbits, not cute at all! Have you read Watership Down? You’ll never see rabbits in the same way again…
      Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you’ve had a pleasant weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I like you sense of humour:) But back to nature – the hike to Lake Agnes was the first I did after moving to Canada. I had read somewhere that is was a must do hike. No one warned about the crowds! It was probably a much more relaxing hike this time of year – despite the thievery and desperation:) We didn’t continue on after the tea house as to was early June and covered in snow/slippery ice, I did’t wanna slip and end up in the water! Instead we took the little trip up to little Beehive, also had a lovely view over Fairmont and the lake.
    Inger

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    1. Definitely a must do hike, but you’re quite right, best done on a quiet day! I was lucky the trail wasn’t too slippery, and it would be very nerve wracking past the tea house if it was icy – the path is narrow and the drop is steep!
      I hope you’ve had a pleasant weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mmmm…. Lovely telling and photographs.

    One winter I hiked down the frozen length, and up as far the end of the valley as my Sorels alone could take me… which was a hard slog, and not that far. Would have loved to get as high as you on that crystal clear day.

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